How To Promote Diversity in the Workplace

Diversity management is hardly a new topic within HR. The benefits of diversity in the workplace have been studied and documented at length, yet the reality is that some organizations still struggle with how to promote diversity in the workplace. Good news, though: there are tried and true diversity management strategies you can implement to support a diverse work environment that strengthens and improves your organization. 

Keep reading to learn some of the key benefits of diversity in the workplace as well as diversity management practices you can put into effect immediately.  

What are the benefits of diversity in the workplace?

Below are just a few of the key benefits of diversity in the workplace:

  • Multi-layered perspectives and ideas
    First and foremost, a diverse team is able to bring more unique and multi-layered perspectives to the table, which are hugely beneficial in multiple ways. A team that can leverage a wide array of backgrounds, experiences, and ideas will have more to draw on when innovating and problem solving. In fact, a recent study by The Wall Street Journal confirmed that diverse and inclusive work cultures are “more innovative and productive” than non-diverse ones. 

    Having a deeper well of experiences and ideas to draw from will also enhance your team’s ability to solve problems and find solutions faster. 
  • Higher employee engagement
    According to research conducted by Deloitte, employees are more engaged when there is more emphasis on diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The key indicators of engagement measured for the research were “whether an employee is likely to stay with their employer, advocate for their employer and go the extra mile (the discretionary effort factor).”
  • Higher employee retention
    Typically, more engaged employees are more likely to stick around longer. That means that diversity management may have a direct impact on employee retention. However, it’s not enough to simply have a diverse staff; team members must also feel included if they’re to feel valued, which means a good diversity management plan should also focus on inclusion strategies. 
  • Deeper understanding of your customers
    Logic says that when you have a diverse workforce that more closely resembles the diversity of your market, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of your customers through the perspectives and input of your employees. Surveying your team members to ask for their feedback and ideas, is a form of inclusion, which will make them feel truly valued and appreciated.
  • Better bottom line
    Practicing diversity management is simply the right thing to do. Plus, prioritizing diversity and inclusion can have measurable benefits, including boosting the bottom line. In fact, one study found that companies with more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenue. 

    Clearly, it pays to focus on diversity management at your operation. Now, let’s look at some diversity management strategies you can utilize to support a diverse and inclusive environment.

Top diversity management strategies for the workplace

While there are diversity management strategies you can implement to foster a more diverse and inclusive workplace, the truth is that no diversity and inclusion program can succeed if it is not authentic. In other words, diversity management is more than just a set of HR policies put in place for the purpose of being perceived as a progressive or ethical company. There must be a culture of inclusion and diversity that is fostered and supported from the top downSenior leadership must be involved in diversity training programs, workshops, and other initiatives.

One major step your organization can take toward fostering a more diverse and inclusive work environment is to create a diversity office and appoint a Chief Diversity Officer (CDO). The most basic function of this office is to advocate for the hiring and promotion of minority employees and to organize employee resource groups. More broadly, the CDO works to entrench the culture of diversity and inclusion throughout the company’s operations.

Another critical step toward diversity management is to examine current company policies and suss out any diversity issues that need to be addressed. This could include revising employment applications to avoid asking a person’s age, race, or ethnicity. Another diversity policy initiative could be to institute gender-neutral bathrooms. 

Of course, simply developing and writing new diversity policies isn’t enough. In order to be effective, those policies must be communicated clearly to the entire company. Employees should be required to read and sign diversity policy documents and attend training sessions that explain the policies in detail, including the ramifications for inappropriate or discriminatory behavior.

How can you support diversity in the workplace as an individual?

Organizational efforts aside, how can you support diversity in the workplace on an individual level? Here are a few tips: 

  • Know and understand your company’s diversity goals and policies and actively engage in their efforts. That could mean taking part in or even starting an employee resource group, becoming a mentor, or volunteering to serve on or chair a diversity-related committee.
  • Take time to cultivate cultural competency by learning about the different cultures, religions, races, and backgrounds of your co-workers. Ask those colleagues to share some of the customs and beliefs associated with their cultures, if they’re comfortable. Showing genuine interest and making a concerted effort to learn will go a long way in fostering open conversation.
  • Be welcoming of different ideas and perspectives, and support your teammates when they offer their thoughts and opinions. Remember that varied viewpoints and ideas can lead to more creative solutions, along with making work more engaging, interesting, and fun. 

How to promote diversity in the workplace using Wrike for your HR strategy and programs

Whether you’re planning the next employee training session, setting up a committee meeting or event, or finalizing your workplace inclusion policy, Wrike can help. Wrike gives HR teams the visibility and tools to plan with confidence. 

Ready to learn how Wrike can help HR departments manage projects and streamline processes? Give it a try today with a free two-week trial!

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